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Local California State Parks winter events

California State Parks

Crafters sought for holiday event at the Antelope Valley Indian Museum

Craft boutique applications are now being accepted for the Antelope Valley Indian Museum’s tenth-annual “Holidays on the Homestead,” to be held on Saturday December 4 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The historical-themed fundraiser also features a cowboy poetry singer, cowboy coffee heated over a campfire, and homestead-era holiday décor throughout the museum grounds.

The theme of the small indoor craft boutique is country-western and/or holiday items. Booths are $30. For craft booth information and applications, contact Jean Rhyne by November 27 at (661) 753-6233 or [email protected].

Red Rock Canyon State Park November Interpretive Programs

Red Rock Canyon State Park’s visitor center is currently open Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Thursday through Sunday on Thanksgiving weekend). The visitor center features colorful displays and dioramas illustrating Red Rock’s unique geology, fossils, Kawaiisu Indian culture, early settler history, flora and fauna, and Hollywood connection. The gift shop offers books, toys and souvenirs. Red Rock Canyon State Park: 37749 Abbott Drive, Cantil (22 miles north of Mojave on Hwy. 14, near California City).

Please note: Programs are subject to cancellation without notice. Check http://www.Facebook.com/RedRockCanyonStatePark for latest updates.

Sat., Nov. 27, 9 a.m .: Docent led nature walk of the “Ricardo Nature Trail.” Learn about various plants and their flowers and how small animals adapted to the harsh desert environment. Meet at the Ricardo Trailhead across from the visitor center.

Sat., Nov. 27 at dusk: Ridgecrest Astronomy Club will conduct a “Star Party” for viewing planets, constellations and other celestial objects in the night sky through some amazing telescopes. Meet at the visitor center parking lot area.

Chili, crafters and cowboy songs at “Holidays on the Homestead”

The Antelope Valley Indian Museum will host the 10th annual Holidays on the Homestead celebration on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. Originally a 1930s homestead, the museum’s historic grounds will be decorated in vintage holiday style and feature live acoustic music around a campfire, tours of the grounds, a country craft boutique, real cowboy coffee brewed over the fire, and hot chocolate or cider for the kids! Explore the unique hand-built museum and whimsical grounds at night, with soft lighting and the smell of fresh greenery, and the wintery sky sparkling over the desert.

Stay warm around the blazing campfire while cowboy poetry singer Michael Tcherkassky, “The Saddle Serenader,” croons the romantic poetry about life on the range that cattlemen composed by day during their journeys across the old west, and then shared around the campfire when the sun went down. Michael has performed traditional cowboy songs and poetry for many years at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival and other events around the country.

The country craft boutique features unique gift ideas, made by local artists. The crafters carry on the artistic tradition of Howard Arden Edwards, who built the Indian Museum to display his collection of American Indian artifacts. The Craftsman-style building is decorated with his colorful representations of Indian culture and creative hand-made furniture.

Rose Edwards was known for her tasty rib-sticking chili and cornbread feasts at their holiday celebrations. Each event admission includes a bowl of chili, complemented by delicious cornbread generously provided by The Lemon Leaf Café. (Sorry, no chili cookoff for this year.)

Event admission is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12, and ages 5 and under are free.

The Antelope Valley Indian Museum is located at 15701 E. Ave. M in Lancaster, near Lake Los Angeles. Information can be found at http://www.AVIM.parks.ca.gov and http://www.Facebook.com/AVIndianMuseum, or call (661) 946-3055 (711, TTY relay service). Please come out for this special holiday event, rain or shine, and support the museum and local artisans!

Kick-off the New Year with First Day Hikes at Saddleback Butte State Park

Rejuvenate by taking a family friendly trek through a state park close to home

Make a New Year’s resolution to your health and happiness by kicking off 2022 with an invigorating First Day Hike at Saddleback Butte State Park on January 1, as part of America’s State Parks’ First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states. America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike at a state park. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.

At Saddleback Butte State Park, staff and volunteers will lead three hikes, which vary from an easy half-mile stroll to a strenuous five-mile hike up the butte. Check-in for all hikes is at the park Visitor Center, 17102 East Avenue J, Lancaster (corner of 170th St. E and East Avenue J, near Lake Los Angeles). Bring a lunch to enjoy in the park’s picnic area after returning from the hikes! Kids are welcome, but dogs are not allowed on trails in California State Parks (with the exception of trained service animals, no comfort animals). Visit http://www.Facebook.com/SaddlebackButte for more information and updates.

• 9 a.m. – Hike to top of Saddleback Butte. Moderately strenuous. Five miles and about three hours roundtrip; 1,000 feet of elevation gain to an incredible view across the Mojave Desert. Bring water and wear good hiking shoes and layered clothing; it can be very windy at the top.

• 10 a.m. – Loop Hike across the park. Easy to moderate. 3.3 miles with little elevation gain; about 1 ¾ hours. Dress for the weather; bring water and hat, walking sticks are optional. Enjoy the beautiful high desert views over the Antelope Valley; this is a great winter’s hike.

• 11 a.m. - Dowen Nature Trail. Easy. Guided interpretive tour along the nature trail. Learn about the unique natural and cultural history of the local area. 1/2 mile loop with mild elevation gain, about 1 hour; wheelchair/stroller accessible.

Nationwide information about First Day Hikes offered, their difficulty and length, and tips can be found at http://www.StateParks.org. America’s State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.

Join the Christmas Bird Count at Red Rock Canyon State Park

On Sunday, January 2, Red Rock Canyon State Park will host their annual Christmas Bird Count, with adjustments to adhere to COVID safety protocols.

Audubon’s annual count is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world. Since the first count in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count has provided critical data on population trends. Prior to the turn of the century, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt:” they would choose sides and go afield with their gun, and whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won. Around the turn of the 20th century, observers and scientists were just beginning to become concerned about declining bird populations so ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition – a “Christmas Bird Census” – that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them.

Red Rock Canyon State Park’s count registration and birding area assignments must be done in advance. For the safety of participants, birding groups may only consist of single domestic units, and must have at least one person with above-beginner level bird ID knowledge. Be aware there is little to no cell phone service in the park. Bring layered clothing, binoculars, shoes that can get muddy, water, snacks and lunch.

For more information about the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, visit http://www.ChristmasBirdCount.org.

Advance registration required: Call or text Alexia at (661) 810-6268 before 6:30 a.m., January 2.

Upcoming events: More info to come!

• Antelope Valley Indian Museum Docent Training (January; dates TBA): AVIM will be offering a 2-day docent training for those interested in volunteering on weekends in the museum and at special events. Experienced docents may also assist with school programs and group tours, if interested. The training focuses on the American Indian cultures of the Antelope Valley and adjacent regions, the history of the museum, how to staff the museum, and interpretive/educational techniques.

Docents are expected to volunteer a minimum of once per month. No prior experience is necessary, and all ages and backgrounds are welcome.

For questions, contact Museum Curator Peggy Ronning at [email protected] or (661) 946-6900.